Monday, January 28, 2013

junk and relatives

let this post begin on a sad note, discussing k-twang and our aunt. on wednesday afternoon our aunt and i spoke about the website she wants to put together, and she ranted a little about how unhelpful k-twang was. i thought to myself that it's a good thing she's so tolerant (she really is) as it's nigh impossible for her to put herself in others' shoes. asking a designer / web developer about putting together a site is like needing an apartment and asking a construction engineer or architect when you should be looking for a real estate agent. lucky for her, i said, i'm both an engineer and an agent, and that's how i knew what kind of solution to look for.

the thing is, there's something that's tough to ignore and that's k-twang's (alleged) response to her being along the lines of "i've decided not to take on private work". assuming that's the case, there's no need to say it like that. and an attempt to direct her wouldn't have cost anything.

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thursday:

i was up early to lie in bed thinking about immigration officials and how i'm going to present myself. and, of course, how i'm going to deal with being on the wrong foot when i'm grilled for the second time. not that we've been wasting time or not enjoying ourselves at all, but we've been in limbo since november and to be turned away after all we've been through would be very disappointing indeed.

not to mention that my initial impressions of montreal weren't wrong: it really is magic.

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i got up with the name "kurt vonnegut" in my head without recalling who he was, and never having read any of his work. i found some quotes of his, some of which are a bit meh and some of which are very clever indeed.

sometimes "early" means "on time". i may have mentioned this before, but i used to be excessively punctual until i completed the officers' course.

the day felt a little colder - it simply *must* be psychological. that sentiment's reinforced by a weekend shivering in much warmer weather.

sensation of the day: time flies, and automation is awesome when it works properly.
obstacle of the day: php by reference is mind-numbingly horrible and made me feel like i was trapped at the event horizon of a black hole.
lesson of the day: "only one focus" doesn't mean that marketing executives won't unleash surprises.

bets are interesting things. aota organized a nexus 10 and used $1000 hyperbole to describe how difficult it was to obtain. "you're on", i said, and opened a chat session with overclocker to ask if he could get one to me by the end of next week. "sure," he told me.
"how about that $1000?"
"we didn't shake on it."
not that i would have taken her up on it. if i'd thought it through i wouldn't have tried, as i really didn't mean to belittle her achievement and i hope i didn't have any less than humorous effects.

...

there's something special about saying goodbye for a long weekend and receiving a note of appreciation from my hopefully-soon-to-be boss.

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pg and i headed off to take the accreditation exam, and we were a little nervous about the knots. our examiner was a really friendly guy whose only interest was in seeing that we were confidently competent, and we did fine! no tricks, no tough questions, and we were good to go ^_^

it was crowded until late, by which time we were already grimacing with sore arms and fingers. in the future we'll be arriving later to get a better selection. i was super proud of myself for some of the routes i managed :D

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observation: it's now 2013, and some of my favourite items of clothing are a freebie troop jacket i acquired as a teenager and double-lined baggy mr price pants i bought before emigrating in 2000, both of which i'm happy to rate for weather reaching temperatures in the "****ing freezing" range.

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after the wall we treated ourselves to our favourite chinese place, finally remembering to only order one meal (okay, and a starter) that was still too much for the both of us. absolutely delicious.

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the following incident is still haunting me, it's deeply troubling to see just how far a person can fall and consider just how easy it is to do so. please don't read this if you're eating. a beggar was shuffling around the metro platform on his knees begging, which in itself is decidedly undignified. he then got up to approach two girls standing next to us, but he didn't move on when they refused. instead, he got this pained look on his face and doubled over for a second, after which some pee dribbled from his crotch to the floor. just then a well-dressed black man walked up to put some coins in his still outstretched hand, and told him to pick himself up and get a job: "three years ago i was where you are, man, and look at me; i got a job, and now have a home, a wife and three kids." the veracity of his story notwithstanding, one must question his assumption that this man is in the same position as he was. the beggar threw away the one cent coins and limped away with one hand cupping his butt. i presume that he didn't only piss himself.

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friday:

we definitely didn't get enough sleep. after super quick packing we headed down to the grand central station, then i thought about the bus not being a train and google maps showed us the way.

getting on the bus was easy enough, and i spent the next hour or so quite disappointed that we'd picked seats that made it impossible to take photos of the majestic scenery.

i spent most of the trip finishing on the rain-slick precipice of darkness (the wrong way) and posting. my belly ached and i couldn't sleep comfortably. i felt exhausted but fine by the time we arrived in toronto, and after stopping for coffee we headed out to discover that it's not easy to get lost in downtown toronto. also, that the toronto underground isn't heated and that's just bloody weird. it's not nearly as cold as montreal, but i was feeling it more keenly :S

friday night with the family was great, minus my pouring far too much whiskey for myself.

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saturday:

yesterday morning was slow and easy. two items seen on facebook increased my faith in humanity: people are awesome 2013 and j.k. rowling being awesome.

on the way to the bus my cousins took us for a really good thai lunch, and then we said goodbye.

conclusion for the day: niagara is prettier in winter. another google map fail scored us a short walk, but we found the hotel easily enough and the automated check-in was a pretty cool short cut. we got a nice hotel room - it's been years since i last stayed in an actual hotel room! - and we caught the view of the falls at dusk, walking along from opposite the american until the horseshoe, then taking my cold camera fingers to heat up while pg and i enjoyed delicious vegetarian mexican food and drank too much tequila (just kidding! it was a fine amount) at "tacos 'n tequila mexican cantina". we passed through the frankenstein haunted house (the live dude was pretty creepy), hit the house of fudge for double dark chocolate, then returned to our room for an extremely comfortable and elderly early night.

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sunday:

i suffered violent south african dreams involving matric mates, new weapons tech and genocidal anti-semitism, then one about working on two start-ups with two people who turned out to be friends (this almost brought both down). i woke up to starbucks coffee and fudge for breakfast while snapping pics of the view and filling out more of this post.

for second breakfast i had hot oatmeal and home fries to balance things out, after which we were joined by k-twang and his fiancée for a glorious afternoon of tourism: pics by the falls, the games arcade (we won fingerboards! haven't played with them since we were kids), very funny bowling, an insanely huge indian lunch and air hockey. when they had to go we continued in the same vein, taking a turn on the ferris wheel and hitting another games arcade (i rule at dance dance revolution, pg kicks my ass at pirates of the caribbean pinball). afterwards i realized that we didn't have too many opportunities to get to the bus station left so we headed here; soon we'll be departing for montreal.

all in all, niagara was a silly, fun experience that has no relation to anything and afforded us an opportunity to catch up with family. not a bad weekend at all.

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